Jacksonville, Fla. – Zac Manuppelli pitched a career-high seven innings and limited North Florida to just two runs in leading USC Upstate to a 3-2 victory in the Atlantic Sun Conference opener Friday evening from Harmon Stadium.
Manuppelli scattered seven hits, struck out three Ospreys and walked none on his way to his team-leading third win of the season. Upstate reliever Richie Lacell pitched a scoreless eighth, and Erik Samples struck out two of the three batters he faced in the ninth inning to pick up his second save of the season.
UNF reliever Dan Vansickle (2-2) suffered the loss after giving up two runs on two hits in 3.1 innings of work. David Trexler started the game and went the first 5.2 innings and surrendered one run on three hits.
North Florida (7-9, 0-1) used the long ball in the top of the first inning to strike for a pair of runs and go ahead 2-0. Osprey shortstop Kyle Brooks led off the frame with a single to right and came around to score two batters later when right fielder Drew Weeks connected for his second home run of the season.
USC Upstate (9-11, 1-0) cut the North Florida lead in half by manufacturing a run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Leadoff hitter Tyler Lesch drew a two-out walk, stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error from catcher Peyton Walsh. Left fielder Brian Thompson followed with a single into right to plate Lesch with his third RBI of the season.
Zack Krider put Upstate ahead for the first time with a two-run single in the top of the seventh to give the Spartans a 3-2 lead. Third baseman AJ Mackey reached with a one-out single to right field and advanced to second when shortstop Daniel Fickas followed with a walk. Two batters later, Thompson walked to load the bases and Krider smashed a grounder into left field for his 15th and 16th RBIs of the season.
Krider finished 2-for-4 at the plate to record his team-leading 10th multi-hit game of the year.
Upstate and North Florida will play game two Saturday at 1 p.m. Spartan lefty David Roseboom is expected to draw the start on the mound.